March 21, 2023 from Canadian Underwriter
In March 2023, Saskatchewan Government Insurance (SGI) released its list of the Top 5 most odd and unusual attempted insurance fraud claims. The public auto insurer’s special investigation unit busted hundreds of fraudulent claims in 2022, which resulted in $5.8 million in savings.
The top 5 fraudulent auto claims of 2022 included:
1. Turnoff Tales
One early morning, a man was travelling with his girlfriend through foggy conditions at about 55 km/h. He missed his turnoff, striking an abandoned vehicle on the shoulder of the highway.
In a panic, the couple walked to a nearby house instead of calling the police. The homeowners told the police the couple had informed them that they didn’t want the police to know about the accident. Once the police visited the collision site, they noticed several “concerning items” inside the vehicle, including drug paraphernalia. There was also no evidence of fog that morning and no nearby turnoff that the driver could have missed. The special investigation unit (SIU) discovered that the driver was travelling at double the speed they had reported, with additional witnesses claiming that the couple was very intoxicated.
The SIU found the driver’s account of the accident was “unreliable and vague” and SGI denied the claim for misrepresentation, saving the company $40,000.
2. Sleeping Scam
One woman who filed an SGI claim stated that she had fallen asleep while driving, causing her to collide with a parked vehicle. The driver also claimed that she had “significant financial hardship” and recently had spoken with a bailiff about repossessing her high-valued SUV the day before the accident.
After several interviews to confirm the driver’s financial trouble, SGI discovered that the driver was lying to her bank about her ability to make payments in an effort to buy herself extra time.
Data from the crash was retrieved and revealed that the vehicle was idle for a full five seconds before the collision. This was followed by a fast depression of the gas pedal, sending the vehicle forward and hitting a peak speed of 31 km/h upon impact. The insurer believes that the driver had intentionally caused the collision to avoid having the vehicle repossessed. The total savings of the accident were $63,000.
3. Heist Hoax
A man reported that his vehicle was missing to SGI, claiming that it was parked in front of his house and had a spare key locked inside. An hour after he had reported the alleged theft, the police found the vehicle a short distance from his house. The vehicle was on the front lawn of someone else’s property and had collided with a parked vehicle and a tree.
The driver filed a theft and collision claim with SGI. Meanwhile, another customer filed a claim for the parked vehicle and property damage. SIU obtained security footage which revealed that the first vehicle was driving at a high speed, lost control, colliding with the other parked vehicle and the tree.
SGI stated that a person matching the driver’s description was shown walking away from the vehicle and locking it with a key fob. The driver ultimately confessed to causing the collision after a celebration, admitting that he shouldn’t have been driving. The driver was responsible for $50,000 in vehicle and property damage.
4. Rollback Rip-off
One claim was submitted by a woman who stated that she drove her truck through a “dip with standing water”, causing the truck’s engine to quit. The truck required a costly engine repair or a replacement.
While investigating, SIU found the vehicle’s odometer had been rolled back and determined the woman had rolled the truck’s odometer to show 150,000 fewer kilometers to increase the truck’s value. After being confronted with the SIU findings, the woman withdrew her claim, saving the insurer $7,000.
5. Deer Dupe
A claim was filed stating that a driver hit a deer and left their vehicle on the side of the road. The woman who was driving claimed she came back to the vehicle only to find it completely burned. A witness was contacted by SIU, who stated that they saw two people removing belongings from the vehicle before it had gone up in flames shortly after.
SIU discovered that the vehicle wasn’t registered at the time of the accident and that registration was purchased by the driver less than an hour after the crash. The special investigation unit believes that the woman returned to set the vehicle on fire, in an effort to receive a payout. SGI denied the claim, saving themselves $5,000.